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Learning Perl, 5th Edition Paperback – July 7, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0596520106 ISBN-10: 0596520107 Edition: 5th

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 5th edition (July 7, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596520107
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596520106
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #299,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Making Easy Things Easy and Hard Things Possible

About the Author

Randal L. Schwartz is a two-decade veteran of the software industry. He is skilled in software design, system administration, security, technical writing, and training. Randal has coauthored the "must-have" standards: Programming Perl, Learning Perl, Learning Perl for Win32 Systems, and Effective Perl Learning, and is a regular columnist for WebTechniques, PerformanceComputing, SysAdmin, and Linux magazines.

He is also a frequent contributor to the Perl newsgroups, and has moderated comp.lang.perl.announce since its inception. His offbeat humor and technical mastery have reached legendary proportions worldwide (but he probably started some of those legends himself). Randal's desire to give back to the Perl community inspired him to help create and provide initial funding for The Perl Institute. He is also a founding board member of the Perl Mongers (perl.org), the worldwide Perl grassroots advocacy organization. Since 1985, Randal has owned and operated Stonehenge Consulting Services, Inc. Randal can be reached for comment at merlyn@stonehenge.com or (503) 777-0095, and welcomes questions on Perl and other related topics.

Tom Phoenix has been working in the field of education since 1982. After more than thirteen years of dissections, explosions, work with interesting animals, and high-voltage sparks during his work at a science museum, he started teaching Perl classes for Stonehenge Consulting Services, where he's worked since 1996. Since then, he has traveled to many interesting locations, so you might see him soon at a Perl Mongers' meeting. When he has time, he answers questions on Usenet's comp.lang.perl.misc and comp.lang.perl.moderated newsgroups, and contributes to the development and usefulness of Perl. Besides his work with Perl, Perl hackers, and related topics, Tom spends his time on amateur cryptography and speaking Esperanto. His home is in Portland, Oregon.

brian d foy has been an instructor for Stonehenge Consulting Services since 1998, a Perl user since he was a physics graduate student, and a die-hard Mac user since he first owned a computer. He founded the first Perl user group, the New York Perl Mongers, as well as the Perl advocacy nonprofit Perl Mongers, Inc., which helped form more than 200 Perl user groups across the globe. He maintains the perlfaq portions of the core Perl documentation, several modules on CPAN, and some stand-alone scripts. He's the publisher of The Perl Review, a magazine devoted to Perl, and is a frequent speaker at conferences including the Perl Conference, Perl University, MarcusEvans BioInformatics '02, and YAPC. His writings on Perl appear in The O'Reilly Network, The Perl Journal, Dr. Dobbs, and The Perl Review, on use.perl.org, and in several Perl usenet groups.

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Customer Reviews

Concise and easy to understand.
Keith Wiljanen
The book has been around for a long time so it has definitely stood the test of time.
David Karapetyan
In sum, this is the best book for a gentle introduction to a very useful language.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin G. Selfridge on August 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
There could not ever be a better book for learning the Perl programming language than this one. The clarity of thought is unbelievable - the authors manage to provide a huge amount of detail while never going off on a tangent about exceptions to rules (something Perl, like English, is abundant with). If you want to get the basics of Perl under your fingertips in a *very* short amount of time, this is the book for you.

Let's face it - Perl can be a mess sometimes, and if you don't learn it from just the right angle, you'll find yourself knee-deep in a swamp. By choosing this book to learn from I effectively avoided all those pitfalls, and more importantly, adopted a clear way of using the language that has enabled me to write sophisticated, readable, even beautiful Perl code.

After some experience with the language I find it incredibly enjoyable to use, and when Perl is written well, it's easy to read someone else's code (to all you naysayers - yeah, Perl LETS you write bad code, but you don't have to!). This book was key to getting off on the right foot. I would highly recommend it to anyone who has any interest whatsoever in the language. Even if you only plan to write Perl for your own purposes, recreational or otherwise, this is the perfect beginner's tool. Buy it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By The Language Techie on January 11, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have already programmed Perl for years, but decided to spend a few days' free time re-reading the latest (5th) edition. I had previously learned Perl by reading the 1st or 2nd edition. This time around, I learned a few things that I neglected before. That is the good part.

I enjoy the humor of the authors (in the same vein as Larry's Programming Perl). Humor makes the learning more pleasant. However, the incessant reference of the Flintstone is unbearable for a non-fan.

I wish that the book were less wordy so that it can cover more in 300 pages, and that it would cover such fundamental concept as Unicode (good support since 5.8, while this book covers 5.10) in this day and age of globalized software/Internet environment.

I also wish the book would give Win32 a bit more weight and be less Unix-centric.

My opinion of the book may not reflect that of a total beginner, but if I put myself in the shoe of someone new to Perl but with a little bit of programming experience, I'd rate the Llama book to be a rather good one. At least, the writing and the English is good, which cannot be said of most technical programming books of today. Overall, I would definitely recommend it to anybody new to Perl (but not to programming) as the first book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By PhotographerInMA VINE VOICE on August 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
An oft-repeated allegation against Perl is that it is write-only. In my opinion, this allegation is usually made by programmers proficient in other languages that have trouble understanding or following Perl idioms (one trivial example: the use of for loops instead of the Perl-native foreach loop).

The value of this book is that it teaches a beginner how to use idiomatic Perl. Someone learning Perl from this book will, in course of time, distinguish between line noise and well-written Perl.

A small subset of Perl is covered, not quite sufficient for much other than basic text processing; however the learning provides a firm base for exploration of other Perl books in O'Reilly's Perl menagerie. Specifically, the "Camel" book (Programming Perl) becomes a lot easier to read once the reader has completed this book and work through its exercises.

In sum, this is the best book for a gentle introduction to a very useful language.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Wayne on January 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
Learning Perl, by Randal L. Schwartz, Tom Phoenix, brian d foy is an entertaining and well-written book that will take you from knowing at least a little bit about programming, to knowing a lot about Perl.

Learning Perl starts off with a basic introduction to Perl, with basic data types, subroutines, and input/output (including files). Then you are introduced to more advanced topics such as hashes, regexes, Perl modules, file tests, and directory operations. In this book you will find fairly in-depth discussions on each chapter, with a set of exercises at the end that should take the novice programmer about 45 minutes to complete. The exercises are well written and help the reader retain the information that was presented in the chapter.

I picked up Learning Perl for the obvious reason - I wanted to learn Perl! And this book was a marvelous introduction to the language that says TMTOWTDI (pronounced Tom Towdy). Rather than a horribly dry book full of obfuscated examples, I was surprised at how entertaining the read was. The examples were somewhat contrived (using Flintstones characters, for example), but they were perfect for teaching the principles in each chapter. If you make an honest effort to go through this book and finish the exercises, you can easily learn a lot of Perl in a week. You may not be a Perl whiz, but when you see something like

while (<>){ chomp($_); print $_; }

rather than being utterly confused at the cryptic symbols, you'll have a fairly good (if not great) idea about what's going on.

This book is a must-have for anyone who wants to learn Perl.
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